Experts in automatic garden irrigation unwittingly claimed a small patch of internet history this week when they registered the five millionth .uk domain name with, according to Nominet, the .uk registry.

Watermatics in Hertfordshire is using the domain name, registered on Wednesday, to promote an eco-friendly service that recycles your household 'grey water' – effectively sharing your dirty bath and sink water with those thirsty trees and shrubs.

Nominet was founded in 1996 and in its first month of operation registered just 2,000 .uk registrations. Today it is the world’s fourth largest internet registry and handles 144,000 registrations every month.

Fifty-seven percent of domain names registered are associated with a live website, which means that there are almost three million active .uk websites online.